BBC vows to find 'fresh' ideas


BBC director general Mark Thompson last week pledged greater ambition from the pubcaster and said that it will improve its appeal to younger viewers in the wake of audience research outlining a "performance gap" in program innovation (HR 7/5).

Announcing the corporation's annual report in his first formal outing as BBC chairman, Michael Lyons said that only 51% of audiences are satisfied with the BBC's performance in the area of providing "innovative and distinctive content," according to research commissioned by governing body the BBC Trust.

"The public trusts the BBC and values much of what it produces, but audiences want the BBC to be more innovative," he said. "Whilst public approval of the BBC remains stable, audiences have told us that fresh and new program ideas must be a high priority and more effort is needed."

The BBC's total income — which covers flagship channels BBC1 and BBC2, four digital networks, the online portal and local, national and digital radio stations — totaled £4.6 billion ($9.3 billion) in 2006-07, compared with £4.5 billion the previous year.

Speaking at a news conference, Thompson said that the BBC is moving to address a deficit in younger viewers, which its own research has shown are deserting the broadcaster in droves. The pubcaster launched the Creative Futures initiative last year after internal research suggested that one in four 16-year-olds did not watch any BBC programming at all.